Opera Australia, The Sydney Conservatorium of Music and Sydney Youth Orchestras Applaud Amadeus 

Sydney Catholic Schools (SCS) has launched the Amadeus Music Education Program, one of the biggest, most comprehensive and ambitious investment in quality music education ever undertaken in Sydney’s schools.  This multi-million dollar program is being rolled out to 33,000 students across SCS’s network of 150 schools.   

The Amadeus program provides students with classroom music lessons, ensemble lessons and small group tuition and will be led by more than 80 school classroom music teachers and 270 specialist music tutors.  These music tutors will bring professional experience from orchestras and ensembles around Australia and the world.

All Year 3 to Year 8 SCS students will have access to 52,000 different instruments and the program will be integrated into the normal school curriculum.

Amadeus enables access and equity to music education for all students, regardless of abilities and music backgrounds, and is underpinned by research that proves that learning an instrument and playing in a musical ensemble, strengthens neural pathways in the brain and can significantly improve academic success and student engagement.   

Opera Australia, The Sydney Conservatorium of Music and Sydney Youth Orchestras have thrown their support behind Amadeus acknowledging it as a major injection of music education for Sydney.

According to Sydney Catholic Schools’ Executive Director, Tony Farley: “Music is an important part of life through which we express ourselves as human beings.  It brings communities together, creates joy and stimulates the brain and the senses.

 “We decided that music education should not be a privilege just for those who can afford it.  The introduction of Amadeus is a great example of how we are applying the scale and collaboration of our educational network to deliver innovative educational programs. We are committed to putting our students at the centre of everything we do and with Amadeus, we are not only putting more than 50,00 instruments into the hands of every Year 3-8 student, and classroom music lessons from kindergarten, but providing the teaching and support they need to learn and thrive,” he said. 

According to Lyndon Terracini AM, Artistic Director, Opera Australia: “The Amadeus program is visionary and of enormous value to the broader orchestral world. 

“Education provides the building blocks for an enduring love of music, professional development for budding musicians, as well as opportunities for established musicians who wish to teach. It also encourages diversity in our future audiences by engaging with students from all types of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. 

“We need robust music education in schools, and I applaud Sydney Catholic Schools for its commitment and investment in Amadeus.  Support for music and performing arts is great for Sydney and great for the country,” he said.

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Most Rev. Anthony Fisher OP, said: “I am delighted that the Amadeus program will enable students in all 150 Sydney Catholic Schools to benefit from quality music education, especially learning to play a musical instrument. Some of these students will be our musicians of the future but most importantly I hope it will instil in them an understanding and appreciation of music throughout their lives,” he said.

Professor Anna Reid, Head of School and Dean, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, said: “Having an opportunity to study music in school provides children with a means of thinking creatively as individuals and in groups. They will experience the beauty of music through positive collaborative experiences, and happily, these experiences will impact on every other area of their study.

“The Sydney Conservatorium of Music applauds this initiative as parents will also applaud the outcomes of their children’s musical experiences,” she said.

According to Mia Patoulios, Chief Executive Officer, SYO: “The Amadeus music program will create the opportunity for even more young people to discover a lifelong love of music.  I look forward to this program continuing to evolve and strengthen the partnerships between the professional orchestral music sector and education.

“If through this program, just one young person discovers the joy of playing an instrument, finds their true passion, masters skills that they never thought possible, has their worldview challenged or finds the one thing that truly makes them happy, this program is a success. But suspect it will be more than one,” she said.

Amadeus student undertakes instrumental tuition in small groups of five to eight students for 30 minutes per week learning to play on a string, woodwind, or brass instrument. 

Students will also play their instrument in a string ensemble, orchestra, or concert band (whole of class) for up to one hour per week.

Kindergarten to Year 8 students will participate in listening, moving, composition and organising sound and performance (voice, and tuned and untuned percussion) activities.

Each year group has a differentiated teaching and learning program to complement the instrumental program, including a cross-curricular approach linking dance and drama to music. 

The launch follows a successful pilot with 13 schools in the Auburn Lakemba region this year and will be rolled out to all 150 Sydney Catholic Schools by region: East Hills, Horsley, and North Sydney-Harbour, City West (44 schools) in 2022; and from 2023 South-West, Ashfield, Olympic Park, City West, and Sutherland Shire, Botany-Randwick, Aerotropolis, Ryde and St George (92 schools).